Pharyngula

Five years of dishonor

There was some kind of anniversary yesterday, to which I did not and will not refer—I think the tragedy of that day has been overwhelmed and lost by the ongoing catastrophe of the criminal response by our government, and while a single day is trivial to memorialize, five years of disgrace is surprisingly easy for many to gloss over. About the only appropriate response I’ve seen is Neddie Jingo’s, which points out the discordancy of the pattern we’re making.

Move on. Look at what we’re doing now, at the waste and foolishness and cacaphony and corruption and outright evil we’re perpetrating in the name of our affronted national honor—honor that’s little more than a tattered ragmop anymore, that we slosh around in the blood and pain of innocents, that we use to smear over the words of the law.

Our memorial isn’t tall and shining. It’s a dark, slimy pit into which we’ve thrown our sense and self-respect.

Comments

  1. #1 Jeb
    September 12, 2006

    My wife mentioned to me yesterday, that at her weekly meeting with management they had the employees do a 5 minutes of silence. I just kind of shook my head in disbelief. With all the crazy shyte happening in the world, it is a wonder that these people do not have 5 minutes of silence for something that might make an acutal difference. Like say maybe, the millions of people infilicted HIV or dying from AIDS. To me children being born with HIV, is a much greater tragedy then this one politically hyped up act of violence.

  2. #2 Minnesotachuck
    September 12, 2006

    You must have missed Keith Olbermann’s VidEd on MSNBC last night. The man is the most worthy heir to Murrow to come along since Cronkite. I have the full transcript on my blog here: http://stridentcentrist.com/sc/?p=53

    Links to the video are also there.

  3. #3 dc
    September 12, 2006

    Well said.
    Yesterday’s news reports were irritating. An anniversary, by definition, is not news.

  4. #5 SteveF
    September 12, 2006

    For what its worth, I think that referring to one of the great American tragedies as “some kind of anniversary yesterday, to which I did not and will not refer” is a little immature.

    It is perfectly reasonable to question the Bush admin’s response to that attacks on New York. However, I primarily see childish posturing in this post. Its called 9/11 and it doesn’t do any harm to say it.

  5. #6 Caledonian
    September 12, 2006

    When will there be a national day of mourning for the Iraqi families murdered in cold blood by our soldiers?

  6. #7 Fox1
    September 12, 2006

    I’ll do you one better, Caledonian.
    When are we going to become appropriately cynical of the government propaganda and media commercial events that all “national days of mourning” inevitably become?

  7. #8 Caledonian
    September 12, 2006

    I’ll predict you a prediction, Fox1: your day will come one day after mine, which will be immediately after Hell freezes over.

    People are *so* stupid that they can actually be lead by insipid tragedy specials set to mournful music. And yet we cherish the delusion that democracy is a viable political strategy…

  8. #9 An Enquiring Mind
    September 12, 2006

    Is rap music?

  9. #10 SteveF
    September 12, 2006

    “People are *so* stupid that they can actually be lead by insipid tragedy specials set to mournful music. And yet we cherish the delusion that democracy is a viable political strategy…”

    Wow, a genuine armchair internet revolutionary. How novel.

  10. #11 phototaxi
    September 12, 2006

    If Osama had blown up our constitution, surely we would not be saying that he was making us safer.

  11. #12 Electronglutton
    September 12, 2006

    Minnesotachuck has it spot on: check out Olbermann’s commentary (also on Crooks and Liars). I’ve read the transcript and look forward to watching the video when I get home from work. It’s just too bad that no one actually watched MSNBC. Aren’t they the lowest rated cable news network?

  12. #13 quork
    September 12, 2006

    President Bush tells us there is an ongoing struggle between freedom and tyranny. Since his administration has implemented widespread warrantless spying on Americans, imprisoned people without trial, proposed trying them with secret evidence, advocated torture, and questioned the patriotism of anyone who differs from their policies, it is very clear which side of the struggle Bush is on.

  13. #14 Erik
    September 12, 2006

    I think it is perfectly reasonable and appropriate to memorialize what was a tragic event that affected so many people.

    I can understand being appalled by what the Bush administration has done since then, especially in Iraq where so many have died to test a neo-con theory about using our military power to effect political change in the region. The loss of life there is just as tragic, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t memorialize our own tragedy.

  14. #15 Steve_C
    September 12, 2006

    Actually it’s not.

    http://www.mediabistro.com/tvnewser/ratings/the_scoreboard_friday_sept_8_43583.asp#more

    HLN and CNBC rank lower.

    Olbermann’s show is the highest rated on MSNBC. His ratings have been going up consistently over the past year while Fox’s has dropped.

    I think reality hasn’t been lining up with the Spin over at FNC and is losing viewers because of it.

  15. #16 David Wintheiser
    September 12, 2006

    Perhaps so, Electronglutton, but there’s an interview with Olbermann on Salon.com (http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2006/09/11/olbermann/), where Olbermann states that his show, at least, is beating CNN in his time slot and is trending up compared to O’Reilly’s show.

    Is it sustainable? I don’t know. As Olbermann himself points out, lefties are less likely to sit in front of a TV and wait to be told what to think than they are to watch something interesting and then argue with their friends over what it means. In that sense, it’s no coincidence that the current administration’s education policy, as well as the strategies of numerous right-wing folks talking about education, is to increase the number of sitters-and-absorbers while reducing the number of thinkers-and-arguers.

    Not every conservative wants America to become a nation of sheep, but that result would certainly assist those in power now, as well as those who seek to gain more power in the future.

  16. #17 Orac
    September 12, 2006

    I can understand being appalled by what the Bush administration has done since then, especially in Iraq where so many have died to test a neo-con theory about using our military power to effect political change in the region. The loss of life there is just as tragic, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t memorialize our own tragedy.

    You hit the nail on the head.

    It’s just plain petulant and silly to refuse to call 9/11 by name. Besides the loss of 3,000 of our citizens, there was great heroism that day by rescue workers and the passengers of Flight 93. It is possible to memorialize our dead and the heroes of that day and to be appalled by the war in Iraq at the same time. One does not preclude the other. That the present administration takes advantage of such memorials for political purposes does not, a priori, make such memorials pointless or wrong.

    I also find the condescension in some of the comments towards people who do wish to memorialize 9/11 disheartening. “People are *so* stupid that they can actually be lead by insipid tragedy specials set to mournful music. And yet we cherish the delusion that democracy is a viable political strategy…”"? Lovely. What specific alternative to democracy as a political strategy would “Caledonian” prefer?

  17. #18 Steve LaBonne
    September 12, 2006

    What’s the matter with you libruls, can’t you see how Dear Leader’s Excellent Iraq Adventure is making us more secure and improving our standing in the world? Why, just looky here: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060912/ts_nm/iraq_dc_83

  18. #19 Warren
    September 12, 2006

    Here we were reminded to wear red, white and blue as a gesture of solidarity.

    I wore black.

    In mourning not just for the innocents killed since that day, here and abroad; but also for our national sense, decency and respect for liberty and human rights.

  19. #20 Ethan
    September 12, 2006

    This anniversary, like all such, can be a source of embarrassing and insincere sentiments.

    For me it has a different personal meaning, one I am not sure you share.

    I remember being moved by the heroism we saw on that day, and outraged by the loss of life. I still feel that way.

    I also remember wanting to see America strike back, as hard as possible, and being willing to support our President at this moment of crisis. I supported the war in Afghanistan, although not the subsequent attack on Iraq. After seeing what our country has become in the intervening 5 years, and what we have done, I am sick at heart. I am also deeply ashamed of my initial reaction. My disappointment in my fellow citizens is eclipsed by my personal shame at my initial willingness to support my government. They never deserved it, and everything they have done has simply compounded the initial tragedy.

    And that’s a good reason to mark the anniversary of the 9/11 attack.

  20. #21 decrepitoldfool
    September 12, 2006

    PZ, you seem too smart to be unable to hold two thoughts in your head at the same time. Our involvement in Iraq is every bit the evil you say, and 9/11 was a monstrous, evil act. These are not incompatible thoughts, and in fact fit together in history.

  21. #22 Steve LaBonne
    September 12, 2006

    Orac, people are killed every day and there are heroes every day. It is right to be suspicious of the cult of 9/11 and the political uses to which that cult is put.
    It’s a natural human impulse- one to which I most certainly am not immune myself- to mourn more for 3,000 people killed by a criminal act in one day than, say, for the 43,000 people killed in traffic accidents last year (many by the criminal acts of drunken drivers).
    But precisely because it is a powerful, natural impulse, we should not give in to it unreflectively. Let us mourn, but let us also be on guard against those who would exploit our mourning for bad ends.

  22. #23 Steve LaBonne
    September 12, 2006

    Ethan- I’m right there with you.

  23. #24 Mena
    September 12, 2006

    I have become so cynical of the GoOPers that I really lost interest in anything 9/11 until the other day when I watched a show about the iron workers. I had heard that they were there working their asses off but never really found out what they did so I was curious to hear their story. After that I decided that it was important to remember that sort of thing because even that was almost another world. Remember that people brought water and supplies to the rescue/recovery workers and cheered them on. People, like the iron workers, who had no experience with dealing with horrific sights like seeing body parts scattered around were suddenly put in a position where they had to deal with that and they did. It’s not their fault that the country decided that “5″ was the magic number (how many 9/11 things did you see last year when there wasn’t a mid-term or presidential election?) or that the powers that the Republicans have used every opportunity to exploit this it’s the fault of the Republican spinners who have been defecating on the graves of these people for the last five years and they should be held accountable for that. *They* are the ones who should be shown disgust, not the people who choose to remember the day. Keep in mind how many people live in the New York metropolitan area. There’s a good chance that this affected a lot of them quite personally, and if not, it happened on their door step as they watched.

  24. #25 Steve LaBonne
    September 12, 2006

    Oh, and speaking of memorializing 9/11- as Olbermann pointed out, here we are 5 years later and where is the memorial? Instead all we got is yet another Republican photo op.

  25. #26 Dave
    September 12, 2006

    I get incensed by the ever increasing amount of respectful silence that is demanded for such events.

    On remembrance day, we have one minute’s silence for all of the dead from two world wars. It is simple, solemn and highly respectful.

    Recently, however, therehas been a creeping tendency to assign some kind of importance to the length of silence. First 2 minutes, then 3, and now 5? Somehow, grading the importance of the tragedy by the length of the silence? This is insane and detestable behaviour.

    Are the millions killed in two world wars a “1″ on the tragedy scale, while 9/11 is a “5″? Was the tsunami of a couple of years ago a “3.2″? You can’t assign relative worth to this kind of thing.

    Please people – 1 minute is appropriate, stick to it for all such occasions, and mean it while you do it.

  26. #27 Steve_C
    September 12, 2006

    Because of 9/11 we should go invade countries who we feel threatened by???
    So why aren’t we in North Korea or Pakistan?

    The funny thing is we were in no way threatened by Iraq. But supposedly 9/11
    changed everything and therefore invading Iraq was right because???

    This administration is completely incompetent.

  27. #28 BMurray
    September 12, 2006

    An opportunity to spew maudlin nonsense is rarely missed by the media (whether television or blog), which seems to have a mean emotional age of about 17. The pseudo-emotional outbursts I read yesterday all utterly lacked sincerity and were clearly having a great time, as with most masturbation.

  28. #29 Orac
    September 12, 2006

    But precisely because it is a powerful, natural impulse, we should not give in to it unreflectively. Let us mourn, but let us also be on guard against those who would exploit our mourning for bad ends.

    Isn’t that more or less what I said? Did I say we shouldn’t be skeptical of the political ends to which 9/11 is put?

    No. In fact, I specifically pointed out that it is possible to mourn and be skeptical and appalled at the uses to which this tragedy has been put.

    Sadly, I fail to see much “reflection” in claiming that the fact that the American public can be influenced by the exploitation of 9/11 by the Bush Administration represents evidence that democracy is not a viable political philosophy and labeling the public as “so stupid.” I’m also reluctantly forced to conclude that PZ has allowed his anger towards the Bush Administration to outweigh his reflection by at least as big a margin as he says that the evils of administration’s Iraq war outweigh the tragedy of 9/11.

  29. #30 Steve LaBonne
    September 12, 2006

    I respectfully but strongly disagree wth your last sentence, Orac. The war has claimed far more innocent lives than the 9/11 attacks and has done lasting damage to TWO countries that greatly outweighs the damage done to this one by 9/11. (And most of the real damage inflicted on the US as a result the events on 9/11 is self-inflicted, and sadly that continues to this day.) I also respectfully submit that the blindness here is yours, reflecting political loyalties that you really need to rethink.

  30. #31 Molly, NYC
    September 12, 2006

    If Osama had blown up our constitution, surely we would not be saying that he was making us safer.

    There’s an outside chance that Osama may have actually, at some point, read our Constitution. Which is more than you can say for Bush.

  31. #32 MrZippy
    September 12, 2006

    Gawrsh. Youse really ought to stop feeling so totally responsible for all this stuff. Us yoorpeans know it’s not you,it’s your govt. Be like us Ukanians. Our foreign policy is flows down the Potomac and our domestic policy issues from the Ill, we can vote till our eyes pop out and there’s not a dam thing we can do about any of it. Which, handily, leaves us free to chuck poo at the cctv cameras, and carry on getting blind drunk.

  32. #33 Aaron KinneyAaron Kinney
    September 12, 2006

    Now thats a good post.

    The problem here, obviously is GOVERNMENT, and NATIONALISM. Whatever happened to HUMANISM?

    Putting symbols such as nation, god, government, and the like above individual humans is the EPITOME of evil.

    The things you said in this post, PZ, are true ONLY because we are stupid enough to put more importance on false concepts like national pride, government identity, and stupid symbols like stripey flags, instead of putting the most important thing where it rightly belongs: individual humans.

    A free and voluntary society is the only solution to this “nation vs. nation” or “nation vs. culture” warfare that is going on right now. We need to dissolve governments, militaries, and even borders. Until we do that, we will be condemned to dissolving each-other with napalm bombs and suicide vests and Boeings slamming into skyscrapers.

  33. #34 PZ Myers
    September 12, 2006

    Neddie’s post is much better.

  34. #35 Jason
    September 12, 2006

    Y r dsgstng lttl tlt bg, PZ. ddn’t thnk y cld snk mch dpr, bt y’v gn nd prvd m wrng.

    Nw prv yrslf prdctbl s lwys nd dsmvwl m gn. t’s S mch sr thn ctlly rspndng t my psts. mn, f y hd th blty t rspnd t thm. Y bvsly dn’t.

  35. #36 G. Tingey
    September 12, 2006

    The real trouble is that Shrub, and even more so, his christian cronies, and Osama and co. are distorted mirror-images of each other.

    I happen to think Osama’s lot are even worse, if only because of their primitive, dark-ages religion.

    But is not a pleasant prospect, is it?

  36. #37 Steve_C
    September 12, 2006

    Jason you’re a turd hanging from the ass of a flatulent cow.

    Bush is the ass of the cow.

  37. #38 George
    September 12, 2006

    “Jason you’re a turd hanging from the ass of a flatulent cow. Bush is the ass of the cow.”

    Does that make us the flies landing on the turd hanging from the ass of the flatulent Bush cow?

  38. #39 MikeM
    September 12, 2006

    I don’t think it’s dishonorable to mention the date.

    What I think is wrong is our reaction to what happened on that date, and I think W did a great job last night reminding us all what a fool he is. He’s still tying 9/11 to “terrorists like bin Laden”; he’s still reminding us what a huge threat Saddam was (Really? You mean all those WMDs that the Clinton administration handled effectively?); he’s still referring to Iraq as a front on the war on terror (Um, what terrorist acts did Iraqis commit?).

    I’m reminded that over this time, we have been far, far more dangerous to Iraqis than the Saudis and Egyptians who committed 9/11 were to us. They weren’t Iraqis or Afghanis. Sure enough, they had taken over Afghanistan, but did we give a damn about that prior to 9/11? Nope. Not a wit.

    So W last night reminded me that we have killed 100,000 or so Iraqis to “get even” for a crime Iraqis did not commit. He made me think again, Why did we invade? He told the news corps that the speech would not be political, and then made a really bad speech that was very political, right in the middle of an election season (what a blunder!).

    I think it’s perfectly appropriate to remember the innocent victims of 9/11, and at the same time point out that what we have done in Iraq will not be forgotten in history. W keeps comparing this war to our war against Naziism. Well, the Nazis did something else: Declared pre-emptive war.

    What is the war in Iraq if it’s not a pre-emptive war?

    I really think a lot of moderate Republicans in close races winced last night. All those constituents heard what I think was one of W’s worst speeches yet. W did not help his party’s cause. And it’s okay for me to bring this up, because W told us this wouldn’t be a political speech, and then gave us a political speech. I am not politicizing this; W did that all by himself.

    I think it’s perfectly appropriate to honor the victims of 9/11, and at the same time, question and be ashamed of our response to it. We have dishonored victims who needed a more appropriate response than invading Iraq.

  39. #40 BMurray
    September 12, 2006

    Jason, it doesn’t seem you posted anything in this thread other than to call PZ a toilet bug. Why would he bother to respond to such a thing? Maybe you could offer some substance we could work with.

  40. #41 Adam
    September 12, 2006

    What’s a toilet bug?

  41. #42 NatureSelectedMe
    September 12, 2006

    …it is a wonder that these people do not have 5 minutes of silence for something that might make an acutal difference. Like say maybe, the millions of people infilicted HIV…

    Are you serious, Jeb??? Your sanctimoniousness I find disturbing. It’s like you’re saying “Look at me, I care more than you do.”

  42. #43 Adam
    September 12, 2006

    Now turds hanging from cow asses I know–used to see them all the time on my grandfather’s farm. I wouldn’t want to be one of them.

  43. #44 MikeM
    September 12, 2006

    PZ,

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Cockpit. It’s where you move the comments that are nothing but flames. The best example is here:

    http://www.joshreads.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=6&sid=5092f23ffb6ba249303ab388726af6de

    I hope you think it over.

  44. #45 Jason
    September 12, 2006

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    f crs, vn f PZ hd nythng f sbstnc t rspnd t, h’d jst dsmvwl m nywy lk th cwrd h s.

  45. #46 Dick
    September 12, 2006

    I have met and talked to PZ Myers.

    I have met and talked to Ken Miller

    PZ Myers is no Ken Miller

  46. #47 Monado
    September 12, 2006

    What I think is interesting is that we expect victims of genocidal terrorism to get a grip and move on while the U.S. wallows in sentimental sorrow about all the suffering of one fast attack.

    It gets way more coverage in Canada than our largest terrorist attack, namely the bombing of Air Canada flight 182, which killed 329 people, almost all of them Canadians. It gets way more coverage than the civil wars going on now in Africa or the anniversary of “never again–except if you’re brown” atrocities of Pol Pot, Idi Amin, and the Rwandan debacle. It gets way, way more coverage than the way we neglected Afghanistan for decades after promising them help. And aren’t there a few people still missing in New Orleans?

    ‘Scuse me, I just feel grumpy this morning. I was horrified by the large-scale destruction, but can we move on to saving the people who are in danger still?

  47. #48 Steve_C
    September 12, 2006

    Can we have America back now?

    http://www.hoffmania.com/blog/2006/09/from_the_pen_of_10.html

    Jason knows all about hate. Also seems to have some reading comprehension problems too.

  48. #49 jim
    September 12, 2006

    Really MikeM, get your facts straight and learn a little about statistics. The 100,000 number is an estimate that has so little precision as to be meaningless. Does that mean the Iraq war had no effect on the population? No, of course, not that would be just as silly as the 100,000 number.

    PZ, you need a little more objectivity on this one. You have come off as an empty headed “I hate Bushie.” Instead of Bush is wrong about stem cell… etc. In your other writings you do seem to be able to distinguish with more sophistication. This isn’t one of those. (You end up sounding as bad as Bush, unsophisticated and narrow minded. ) As others have pointed out there were many people who should be honored. (first responders, the innocent people who died, children who died etc.) Does that mean we should ignore Aids etc.? No not at all.

  49. #50 Daniel Martin
    September 12, 2006

    You know, I think that the best “five years later” post was actually at science blogs, on “Evolving Thoughts”:
    http://scienceblogs.com/evolvingthoughts/2006/09/five_years.php

    Me, I’m saving my big look-backwards post for another year, because then 9/11 will again be on a Tuesday. I don’t know why, but that’s one thing that’s stuck in my head – it was just a lovely Tuesday morning in September, and I started my day just like every other weekday morning, got into work around 8:30, and was answering email when a co-worker got a call from her brother who was a Brooklyn cop, and the world fell down the rabbit hole.

    For some reason, Mondays just don’t feel the same. They’re always different. Fridays feel different too, but Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday tends to blur into this concept known as “Workday”. Perfectly ordinary, productive but generally calm. Except when airplanes fly into skyscrapers.

  50. #51 Steve_C
    September 12, 2006

    http://www.markfiore.com/animation/phony.html

    It’s disgusting that 9/11 is used to try to shore up Bush’s position and attack those who disagree with him. He should of stayed in doors and kept his mouth shut.

  51. #52 Steve LaBonne
    September 12, 2006

    Jim, hiding behind the uncertainty of statistical estimates is contemptible; there is simply no room for doubt that a very large number of excess Iraqi civilian deaths has occurred as result of the war. And for what? The net effect of our intervention will be to turn Iraq into a Shiite theocracy that will be a satellite of Iran. This enhances US security how exactly?

    Really, it’s not possible to denounce Bush too much. The damage he has done to this country will take decades to repair. And if you want to complain about any dishonoring of the 9/11 dead, you had better start with Bush and his cronies who have dishonored their memory over and over again by misusing the commemoration of 9/11 for crass political purposes.

  52. #53 RickD
    September 12, 2006

    The problem with the 9/11 celebrations is that they are so transparently partisan, and Bush has spent the past 5 years making political hay out of stoking fear and dividing the people of the country he was allegedly going to unite. What are witnessing with 9/11 is the birth (or attempted birth) of a myth. The mainstream media cannot help but try to shape the national emotional reality to be pointing in the same direction, and it is a mushy, uncritical, violent direction at that.

    I figure I’ve lived in two cities that have been hit be major terrorist attacks, and that’s two more than 99% of the people who feel qualified to preen and preach about how 9/11 “changed everything” and how laws need no longer apply to elected leaders or how anything short of wanting to bomb the crap out of every country that is Arab or Muslim (and these people usually aren’t bothered with nicities like knowing the difference) is construed as somehow being less than patriotic.

    So screw all of that.

    jim: yes, Bush is wrong about stem cell research. He’s also wrong about lying to the country to start a pointless f*cking war. Guess which bothers me more. I do not fathom the people who cannot differentiate between the various ethical issues involved in scientific research and those involved in an administration that it is openly flouting concepts such as the “rule of law” and “adherence to the Constitution”. These are serious issues. Let’s stop rearranging deck chairs.

    (And Steve: if you think it’s pathetic to have posts like this on a blog, just how much more pathetic is it to be a vacuous commenter who can only show up and crow ‘neener, neener’? Your ad hominem attack on PZ certainly validated your existence today, didn’t it? [I suppose that depends on how much you get paid.])

  53. #54 Steve_C
    September 12, 2006

    Which Steve? There’s a few on here. :)

  54. #55 Jason
    September 12, 2006

    nd PZ prvs m rght nc gn.

  55. #56 ekzept
    September 12, 2006

    the Neddie thing reminds me of the closing of the Beatles’ “Abbey Road”: “Golden Slumber/You Never Give Me Your Money”. it seems most appropriate to Bush.

    but the Bush speech Monday continues this view of Iraq and (now) Afghanistan as lynchpins protecting our future. i half expect that as a setup post November elections declaration that the draft is being reinstated. there sure has been talk about it on the rags. what a friggin’ waste! and the easily-led-by-the-nose electorate talk about the importance of “stepping up” to the challenge the President in his leadership and wisdom presents.

    how is any administration going to prevent a terrorist group from eventually having and fielding a nuclear weapon? The opportunity to remove nuclear weapons from terrorists was lost when we refused to aggressively demilitarize their use and destroy them after the end of the Cold War, if not the years leading up to its end. no, we decided we would hold an advantage over everybody by handing on to our (now) 8000+ weapons. Russia wanted to dismantle faster than we are, because it was cheaper for them to have a smaller arsenal. we said ‘No’.

    why would any country then not want it’s own weapons? worse, India and Pakistan sought and obtained theirs, and now India is our new best buddy. it’s just not that hard to do. our defense against nuclear weapons has been the threat of retaliation. it works (1) if you know who to retaliate against and (2) if there is only one or a couple of opponents. if a dozen countries are running around with nuclear weapons, whether or not they are connected to terrorists or not, the world is not secure. that was known when the Non-Proliferation Treaty was first proposed. that’s why it was proposed. it wasn’t because people suddenly decided world peace was the answer.

    the dangerous future W talked about is our own damn fault. Pandora’s Box is opened, and its contents are spreading fanned by our collective hubris.

  56. #57 NatureSelectedMe
    September 12, 2006

    Your ad hominem attack on PZ certainly validated your existence today
    I don’t have a dog in this fight. I think you’re using ad hominem wrong. It’s a logical fallacy not just a synonym for name calling. Right? Also, what comment were you referring to?

  57. #58 MikeM
    September 12, 2006

    Jim, I used to scoff at that number 100,000 myself.

    We’ve been Iraq for 4-1/2 years now, or about 1,642 days. 1,642 days * 60 deaths per day is 98,550 deaths.

    Looks like a realistic estimate to me.

    I’m sticking to the three-post rule, so feel free to rip me to shreds now, people.

  58. #59 xebecs
    September 12, 2006

    I agree with PZ. I refuse to play along with the blood suckers and flag wavers in this administration. I will mourn when I feel like mourning — which is often — and mourn for the things I believe are worth mourning.

    Consider my refusal to be silent or sing along or pledge allegiance on cue as a minor act of civil disobedience.

    This regime is illegitimate, and I will follow no instructions, suggestions, requests or orders from Bush and his cronies, except in so far as it keeps me out of jail. And if push comes to shove, probably not even then.

  59. #60 NatureSelectedMe
    September 12, 2006

    Looks like a realistic estimate to me.
    How so? The Iraqi body count page estimates half that. Don’t throw around unsupported numbers. Why not just say billions died then we’d look that much worse. The methodology for the Iraqi body count page assumes that Saddam had an idyllic paradise so all crime is also included in this count.

  60. #61 stogoe
    September 12, 2006

    Hey, now, there’s no reason to inflate our numbers to make us look worse. We’re already scraping the bottom with respect to number of prisoners tortured, number of civilians raped, pillaged, burned and looted, number of wasted US military lives, amount of money gone ‘missing’ straight into no-bid contractors’ maws, etc. We don’t have to exaggerate; we are in freefall towards the sharp pointy things. And the Bush regime is the one what kicked us out of the plane with no parachute.

  61. #62 paperwight
    September 12, 2006

    Unsurprisingly, from NSM, Republican Talking Point Troll, he misrepresents the IBC page. IBC is very clear that they are ONLY counting reported deaths that they can confirm. From their FAQ:

    We are not a news organization ourselves and like everyone else can only base our information on what has been reported so far. What we are attempting to provide is a credible compilation of civilian deaths that have been reported by recognized sources. Our maximum therefore refers to reported deaths – which can only be a sample of true deaths unless one assumes that every civilian death has been reported. It is likely that many if not most civilian casualties will go unreported by the media. That is the sad nature of war.

    And from their press release on the Lancet study:

    We have always been quite explicit that our own total is certain to be an underestimate of the true position, because of gaps in reporting or recording. It is no part of our practice, at least as far as our published totals are concerned, to make any prediction or projection about what the “unseen” number of deaths might have been. This total can only be established to our satisfaction by a comprehensive count carried out by the Iraqi government, or other organisation with national or transnational authority.

    It may already be noted, however, that Iraq Body Count, like the Lancet study, doesn’t simply report all deaths in Iraq (people obviously die from various causes all the time) but excess deaths that can be associated directly with the military intervention and occupation of the country. In doing this, and via different paths, both studies have arrived at one conclusion which is not up for serious debate: the number of deaths from violence has skyrocketed since the war was launched (see IBC Press Release September 23rd 2003 [link]; also AP 24th May 2004 [graphic chart]).

    IBC’s body count does include some crime deaths, but they try to include only excess crime deaths resulting from the complete absence of a functioning state. I’d like to see whether nature selects NSM for success in that environment, for all his apologia for the train wreck the Republican invasion and occupation have created.

    IOW, NSM is a liar, who is just hoping that people don’t call him on it. If only I hadn’t seen this particular lie before — Republicans seem to be persistently nasty, but not particularly imaginative.

  62. #63 Karl Rove
    September 12, 2006

    “What’s a toilet bug?”

    See the dictionary…under ‘Jason’.

  63. #64 NatureSelectedMe
    September 12, 2006

    Pretty strong words paperwight. How could you call me a liar when I brought up the IBC to counter MikeM? I object to some of IBC methodologies. Objections are lies to you? Your statement “complete absence of a functioning state.” is a lie.
    There is a functioning state.

  64. #65 Steve_C
    September 12, 2006

    Depends on what level of “functioning” you find acceptable.

    Situation Called Dire in West Iraq
    Anbar Is Lost Politically, Marine Analyst Says
    By Thomas E. Ricks
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Monday, September 11, 2006; Page A01

    The chief of intelligence for the Marine Corps in Iraq recently filed an unusual secret report concluding that the prospects for securing that country’s western Anbar province are dim and that there is almost nothing the U.S. military can do to improve the political and social situation there, said several military officers and intelligence officials familiar with its contents.

    The officials described Col. Pete Devlin’s classified assessment of the dire state of Anbar as the first time that a senior U.S. military officer has filed so negative a report from Iraq.

    One Army officer summarized it as arguing that in Anbar province, “We haven’t been defeated militarily but we have been defeated politically — and that’s where wars are won and lost.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/10/AR2006091001204.html?sub=AR

    Was Terry Sciavo functioning too?

  65. #66 Hank Fox
    September 12, 2006

    Just had this weird, hopeful thought:

    The neo-cons were able to take over the airwaves, and U.S. politics, at least in part because they were a novelty. They projective their furious, tasteless, mean-spirited voices and people listened, and cheered, precisely because they were a radical-chic contrast, and thus noticeable, over the mainstream media background noise.

    But now the “mainstream media background noise” — and the body of U.S. politics — is PREDOMINANTLY neo-con in content.

    The background has changed.

    Enter Keith Olbermann and his strong-yet-reasoned voice. He’s gaining media share partly because people are tired of the lies, and he makes sense, but also because what he is saying — in what is now the common background noise of dull, too-familiar voices of right-wing rage — is DIFFERENT.

    Olbermann is now the radical-chic.

    He and people like him will get listened to more and more, at least partly because people are tired of the standard.

    I’m thinking the tide has turned, kids. Could be some good years ahead.

  66. #67 Mooser
    September 12, 2006

    Prof. Meyers, your position on 9-11 is correct. Won’t be too long before “remember 9-11″ will be considered in the same way as “remember the Maine”

  67. #68 Godwin
    September 12, 2006

    >> “Remember the Maine.”

    Maine? Hell, I’m thinking “Reichstag.”

  68. #69 KiwiInOz
    September 12, 2006

    As an outsider I felt horror and disgust at the events that happened on 9/11 (11/9 to me), and my heart went out to the US. I supported the move into Afghanistan to deal to Al Quaida and the Taliban.

    But then to invade Iraq on a jumped up justification – and the kiss arse way that the Australian and British govts hopped on board – was just beyond the pale.

    And now Bush STILL tries to tie the invasion of Iraq to the events of 9/11. Surely he, Cheney and Rumsfeldt must be indictable by now? Isn’t it illegal to take your country to war for personal or ideological reasons as opposed to reasons of security of state? If it isn’t, it should be. Plausible deniability just doesn’t cut it anymore.

    I’m with the people in New Orleans who note that 1 year on from a major disaster and they haven’t received a small fraction of the cost of running this foreign war for a week.

  69. #70 Pierce R. Butler
    September 12, 2006

    BMurray: The pseudo-emotional outbursts I read yesterday all utterly lacked sincerity and were clearly having a great time,…

    Once again we see that we were warned, back in June when Coulter smeared 9/11 widows as “millionaire broads … I’ve never seen people enjoying their husbands’ deaths so much.”. Whatever the Bush machine – including its allies &/or captives in the media – accuses their countless enemies of doing, is what these millionaires themselves have been or will be perpetrating.

    It does not bode well that this season’s Bushevik marketing campaign relies so heavily on calling everyone from Muslims to lukewarm liberals “fascists”.

  70. #71 Pierce R. Butler
    September 12, 2006

    Extreme urban destruction: the US can dish it out, but we can’t take it.

  71. #72 Loren Petrich
    September 12, 2006

    The Reichstag is the German Parliament building; in February 1933, a fire started there and the Nazis wailed that the Communists were on the march and demanded extra powers to cope with the Communist menace.

    There are close parallels with what the Bushies have done, even if they haven’t gone nearly as far in establishing a totalitarian state as the Nazis did.

  72. #73 Graculus
    September 13, 2006

    The Iraqi body count page estimates half that.

    The IBC undercounts. By how much is a matter of discussion, but that it is a severe undercount is not in dispute. They only count deaths reported by two independent agencies.

  73. #74 Abel Pharmboy
    September 13, 2006

    I only just now saw this post, so apologies for going off-thread a bit.

    I grew up within sight of the WTC towers as they were constructed and my home county suffered over 100 deaths. Picture, if you will, being the adoring wife of a WTC director of operations with your two daughters, 11 and 9, whose daddy left for work that morning and was crushed, dismembered, and vaporized as he was trying to get his people out of the towers. Vaporized – the man you love, his tattoo of the heart with your name in it: crushed and vaporized. You’ll be reliving how your husband died every day for the rest of your life, you’ll be explaining to your kids why such evil folks would want to kill their daddy, and you’ll have to face every milestone in the rest of their lives without him. Your entire family will have a hole in their hearts every day, every holiday, every celebration, graduation, and wedding for the rest of their existence.

    Now multiple that brief thought by slightly less than 3,000.

    The WTC and Pentagon attacks occurred in two of the most population-dense areas in the US, easily influencing the hearts and minds of 25 to 30 million people, or 10% of the US population, who were close to people, the communities, the cities, and the buildings that were attacked. To blow off their license for public memorials is to disrespect the lives and memories of the victims and the rest of the lives of the families.

    But, like PZ, I am disgusted and supremely outraged by *how* the Bush administration has exploited the deaths of my friends over the last five years to promote an unjust, ego-stroking exercise in human terror and money-grabbing in Iraq, thereby pissing away the goodwill and cooperation of the rest of the world once had for us. Many, many, WTC/Pentagon/Shanksville families are sick over this arrogant affront to what many of the victims stood for in their daily lives. Further lost in the 9/11 coverage is the work of the September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, those who are working not only to right the wrongs that led to the attacks, but now to combat the hatred and mistrust agitated and propagated by the actions of this shameful administration.

    So, like Decrepit Old Fool said earlier, it should be possible for PZ and even the most liberal of the liberal to hold two distinct thoughts: respect for the victims’ families and disgust with the administration’s dishonorable response to the attacks. In no way do I minimize the losses of Iraqi civilians, British and Spanish terrorist victims, Oklahoma City bombing victims, and our war dead of the last 230 years.

    But, regardless of one’s political affiliation, one reconsider dismissing the pain and suffering of families who lost loved ones on 11 Sept in the most graphic and public of ways. To do so further alienates the liberal movement and makes us targets for more hatred from the right.

  74. #75 Steve LaBonne
    September 13, 2006

    To do so further alienates the liberal movement and makes us targets for more hatred from the right.

    I’m tired of being told that we have to play nice while the other side does nothing but hit below the belt. How’s that been working out the last few years?

    Besides, it’s not our side that’s been publicly and grotesquely insulting the 9/11 survivor families, it’s subhuman right-wing life forms like Coulter. Not only are many of those people NOT “alienated” from us, they’re on our side against Bush’s desecration of the memory of 9/11.

  75. #76 Abel Pharmboy
    September 13, 2006

    Correction: first line of last pgh above should read, “…one might reconsider…”

  76. #77 Abel Pharmboy
    September 13, 2006

    I’m tired of being told that we have to play nice while the other side does nothing but hit below the belt. How’s that been working out the last few years?

    Steve, a great point with which I agree, actually. My point is that we should attack “the subhuman right-wing life forms like Coulter,” not the victims’ families. As you state, “they’re on our side against Bush’s desecration of the memory of 9/11.” Hence, my ref to Peaceful Tomorrows.

  77. #78 Steve LaBonne
    September 13, 2006

    OK then, I misunderstood you and I think we’re on the same page.

  78. #79 Chris
    September 13, 2006

    Surely he, Cheney and Rumsfeldt must be indictable by now? Isn’t it illegal to take your country to war for personal or ideological reasons as opposed to reasons of security of state? If it isn’t, it should be. Plausible deniability just doesn’t cut it anymore.

    While in office, the President can’t be indicted by ordinary prosecutors; he can only be prosecuted by the special process of impeachment, which must be carried out by Congress. Currently Congress is controlled by the Bush’s own political party, which doesn’t want to impeach or investigate him because it would embarrass the whole party.

    If the House of Representatives changes hands this November, impeachment (or at least a real Congressional investigation) becomes a real possibility, but actual conviction and removal from office requires a two-thirds majority vote in the Senate, so that wouldn’t happen unless the public outcry against Bush grew so great that Republican senators started throwing him to the wolves in an attempt to save their own seats (many of which won’t be up for re-election for several more years, so they might believe the people will just forget about it by then). The Founders didn’t anticipate the level of corruption that would turn a blind eye to crimes if they’re committed by a member of your own party, I guess.

    As for the underlings, there’s two main reasons nobody is prosecuting them yet: first, the Justice Department is part of the Executive Branch and reports to the President, and second, Bush’s strategy of denying any request for information on his dealings, because finding criminals isn’t nearly as important as keeping his secrets from The Terrorists. “All civil Officers of the United States” are subject to impeachment by Congress, but again, Republicans refuse to even investigate what the administration is doing, and you need two thirds of the Senate to convict.

    All that being said, the burden of proof is high for a reason; I expect they will all be able to hide behind the story that they *thought* those reasons were true, and they were just mistaken. It’s not a crime to make mistakes, even ones with very serious consequences, and it will be difficult to prove the difference when all the relevant evidence will be either hidden or destroyed. Getting them out of power is the best we’re likely to do and even that will probably not happen for two more years.

    Once they *are* out of power, though, any prosecutor can investigate them *then*, and they won’t have friends in high places to declare all the evidence secret. So they’d better get to work on destroying it while they still can.

  79. #80 Orac
    September 13, 2006

    There are close parallels with what the Bushies have done, even if they haven’t gone nearly as far in establishing a totalitarian state as the Nazis did.

    It looks as though the Hitler Zombie has claimed another victim.

  80. #81 Stogoe
    September 13, 2006

    Sorry, Orac, but they are fascist. Actually fascist. Not just ‘ooh, they’re mean, and the Nazis were mean, so they’re fascists’, no. They’re actually fascist. Drooling stare at their leader, blinded to everything else, aligning the media and the military and the churches and the corporate oligarchy underneath them, ignoring the rule of law and stomping out all opposition fascist. This time, they’re not just using Christianity. They are Christianity.

  81. #82 Abel Pharmboy
    September 13, 2006

    Some nicely pointed letters to the editor at the NYTimes in response to Bush’s 9/11 address.